This is a book by an internationally acclaimed historian Margaret MacMillan. She gives her own personal selection of figures of the past, women and men, some famous and some little-known, who stand out for her. Some have changed the course of history and even directed the currents of their times. Others are memorable for being risk-takers, adventurers or observers.
She looks at the concept of leadership through ?Bismarck and the unification of Germany, William Lyon MacKenzie King and the preservation of the Canadian Federation, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the bringing of a unified United States into the Second World War.
She also notes how leaders can make huge and often destructive mistakes, as in the cases of Hitler, Stalin and Thatcher. Richard Nixon and Samuel de Champlain are examples of daring risk-takers who stubbornly went their own ways, often in defiance of their own societies. Then there are the dreamers, explorers, and adventurers, individuals like Fanny Parkes and Elizabeth Simcoe who managed to defy or ignore the constraints of their own societies.
Finally, there are the observers such as Babur, the first Mughal emperor of India and Victor Klemperer, a survivor of the Holocaust who kept the notes and diaries that bring the past to life. This for me was the best part of the book!
This book is a biography and history of individuals and their times. I loved the book from start to finish!
Rating: 5 stars